January 27 by Allison Melendez
The secret to earning money as a linguist is to become an expert in contracts. An astute professor went straight to the heart of all business transactions and staked his claim. An expert in syntax, especially with some legal training, can command an exorbitant fee just to testify on the scope of an adjective. In other words, there are people who get paid to say that Adjective 1 applies to both Phrase A and Phrase B, not just Phrase A.
With so much money riding on individual words in contracts,
it is shocking that they are often an afterthought. The truth is
that contract management forms the backbone of the entire Quote-to-Cash process, with each step feeding into the contract’s creation, execution, and renewal. Moreover, most companies have multiple contracts in play over the course of a deal, like NDAs that are required to start the process, or MSAs that govern add-ons and changes. An impressive flood of information, product, and cash is directed by these agreements. It’s no wonder that companies are willing to pay linguists and contract managers to review and testify about the deal details.
Quoting is the first step of the contracting process.
Expectations for each party are set and negotiated, laying
the groundwork for an actionable document. A clear and efficient quoting process helps reduce confusion before legal language becomes involved. Of course, once it is time to create the contract, sales and legal teams often butt heads. Sales teams know that a lengthy approvals process can jeopardize important deals, and legal teams know that documents quickly copy-pasted together may contain unfavorable terms, loopholes, outdated language, and other potentially damaging problems. Both teams want consistent, accurate language that can be the basis for good customer
relationships that benefit both parties.
The solution is to create a template library. The legal team can spend time writing and maintaining favorable legal language, maybe consulting a linguist along the way. Once everything is ready, they can publish their work to the library where salespeople can access the appropriate language, and assemble their own contracts from the information in their quote, without waiting on legal feedback. With Advanced Workflows and Approvals, salespeople can see ahead of time if the contract includes non-standard terms that require extra approval, and legal can keep an eye on things from afar. Standard contracts speed quickly through the process with consistent and accurate language, and non-standard contracts can be appropriately reviewed based on clearly identifiable exceptions. Both teams are happy because sales close faster and with less risk.
Once the deal is closed, revenue management ensures
you execute on your contractual obligations. If the
information about these obligations is stuck in a filing
cabinet or in pdfs on someone’s hard drive, it takes extra work to be certain that both parties are compliant. Even searchable databases aren’t enough because it still takes time to extract the relevant data. Efficient management of orders and changes relies on a clear understanding of the products and services owed, and active contracts should be that source of truth. Similarly, the accounting department also needs to refer to the contract to be sure that billing is handled on time and accurately. Smoothly connecting contracting to fulfillment, billing, and revenue recognition eliminates errors that can be costly to correct, and everyone
can rest assured that none of the company’s hard-earned
money is left on the table.
To learn more about how your company can improve your contract management process, download the white paper Streamline Contract Development in 5 Easy Steps.
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